Halifax was recently treated to some veteran bands when Lagwagon's We're Kind of a Big Deal tour Landed at the Marquee club on September 10th.
"Last time I was in Halifax, you were six," said Russ Rankin, former Good Riddance frontman. He ruffled the feathers of an enthusiastic 19-year-old in the heart of the pit, the way your favorite uncle might do. After this endearing little moment, Only Crime kicked back into gear and the walls of the Marquee continued to send shock waves down Gottingen Street.
The bill had a little bit for everyone. After 20 minutes of a full-on rhythmic blitz brought forth by Only Crime, the crowd was charged. Up next was a band that had yet to grace a Halifax stage in their impressively main-staying career.
The lights dimmed and MxPx was brought on stage with the Who's "Baba O Reilly" rising from the speakers. After hammering along for a few chords the Tooth & Nail flagship act kicked into "Life In General." Singer Mike Herrara offered up his mic as much as he could, allowing the east coast locals (what was most likely) their first chance to sing along to MxPx's blend of straightforward, hooky pop-punk that people have been enjoying since 1993. With the exception of two songs off their latest release Secret Weapon, the trio played a nostalgic set of songs. Everything was blended together with thumping drum interludes and walking bass lines so that the music literally didn't stop the entire time they were on stage. After a half-hour of throwbacks, MxPx played "Responsibility" and "Punk Rock Show" to finish up.
If you took a look around the Marquee that night, your eyes couldn't go more than half a second without coming in contact with a faded Fat Wreck t- shirt. Lagwagon came on stage around eleven o'clock and started things off with "Island of Shame." They wasted no time the entire hour they were up there. After flying through a handful of classics like "Making Friends," "Dis'chords" and "Black Eyes," Joey Cape asked, "Who's got a smoke for the Caper?" After a couple packs' worth of smokes were hurled at him, he led the band through a cool medley of some of their older stuff.
It is so obvious after watching Lagwagon on stage that these guys work their asses off. Every album since Duh has improved upon the fundamental harmonizing and crunching riffs they are so good at writing. Cape's unique tone of voice carried through the Marquee with full chorus-like responses from the crowd. Even when they broke into some of the always dreaded new stuff, off of I Think My Older Brother Used to Listen to Lagwagon, the crowd was with them. They all took their turns laughing at themselves and pointing out how old they are. Cape had dawned a particularly beefy mustache for the show that night and drew copious amounts of attention to it whenever he could.
The bottom line for these guys is that they are way more fun to see live to than listen to at home. And that is saying a lot because Lagwagon's lineup of LPs and EPs are full of clever lyrics, infectious choruses, remarkably tight drums, humor and everything else you would want from a SoCal Punk band.
For their encore they played "Alien 8," "Mr. Coffee" and "May 16." The crowd, of course, lost their shit when "May 16" was strummed to life and it ended the show on the best note possible.
If you have a chance to catch this tour in action do it. The supporting acts are awesome, and I don't know if you know this, but it's kind of a big deal.